Repeating the Past

Please click on image for further details.

Please click on image for further details.

Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty puts on his tuxedo and steps back into the Gilded Age on the Long Island Gold Coast in New York.

Broker: Coach Realtors

Agent: Joann Fischer

Please do join me. Put on your finest evening clothes, step with me into the library and go back to America’s gilded age. Imagine martinis before dinner and escorting or being escorted into the candle-lit grand dining room overlooking the magnificent 37 acre gardens.

We are near the north shore – the Gold Coast – of Long Island, New York and about 33 miles from Manhattan. This is an era and area made famous by writers such as Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is the land of great houses, of uber-rich industrialists and bankers – the land of the Great Gatsby.

And here is a house that epitomises this age. To walk through it is to stir the ghosts of the past. They are good ghosts – great ghosts – just as this is a great house.

I am not going to list the rooms or try and guide you through them. I would need a book. Instead I am going to point out one major and two minor features that all speak of quality. First the library: this is a sumptuous two-storey-high galleried room in the high Art Deco style. Its blond wood reflects the fashion of an age when large ocean-going liners were the only way to cross the Atlantic. Here is a room containing thousands of books encased in large-scale cabinetry of the highest standard.

It may seem a small detail but the large doors that connect this room to the hall have the most amazing handles – original, Art Deco and almost impossible to find nowadays. This is important. You can’t judge a book by its cover but you can judge a house by its hardware and door furniture. This home is a class act.

And where on earth did they get those chinoiserie double doors into the dining room? They are utterly magnificent. I wanted to rip them off and carry them home. They are the type of thing a top New York, London or LA interior decorator would kill for.

All through this house are touches like this – of masterful and superior attention to interior detail. But this house is not simply a reminder of a lost age or lost art – because it is now of this age also. It has has survived into another gilded age. Large fortunes are still made down the road in Wall Street which perhaps is where the buyer will come from. If you are one of those people – with a lot of cash and a great deal of style – please look no further. And don’t think that the old splendour can’t be re-created. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, “Can’t repeat the past?… Why of course you can!”

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